A satire website recently received a warning to stop publishing fake news from Facebook after the social network deemed its joke article about CNN purchasing an industrial news spinning machine too misleading for the reading public.
The Christian satire site The Babylon Bee published the piece under the headline “CNN Purchases Industrial-Sized Washing Machine To Spin News Before Publication.”
The goofy article reads in part:
In order to aid the news station in preparing stories for consumption, popular news media organization CNN purchased an industrial-sized washing machine to help its journalists and news anchors spin the news before publication.
The custom-made device allows CNN reporters to load just the facts of a given issue, turn a dial to “spin cycle,” and within five minutes, receive a nearly unrecognizable version of the story that’s been spun to fit with the news station’s agenda.
One reporter was seen inserting the facts of a recent news story early Thursday morning.
“Okay, so we just slip in the location, the people involved, the facts of the story, and there we go,” he muttered as he fiddled with the buttons and dials on the machine. “Spin for five minutes on high, and we’ll have ourselves a news story.”
Minutes later, he removed the story and found it had turned into a perfect piece to push universal health care, common-sense gun control, and the removal of President Trump from office.
Obviously, no sensible human being could mistake such writing for a serious attempt to make Americans believe CNN is physically washing the news in a giant spin machine… errr, wait..
Enter the good folks over at Snopes, America’s most trusted fact checkers.
Although it should have been obvious that the Babylon Bee piece was just a spoof of the ongoing political brouhaha over alleged news media “bias” and “fake news,” some readers missed that aspect of the article and interpreted it literally. But the site’s footer gives away the Babylon Bee’s nature by describing it as “Your Trusted Source For Christian News Satire,” and the site has been responsible for a number of other (usually religious-themed) spoofs that have been mistaken for real news articles.
People are pretty dumb, huh?
It gets better…
Adam Ford, who runs The Babylon Bee, was slapped with a warning from Facebook over the offending article.
Really, Facebook?? pic.twitter.com/HEtBc7C0Gz
— Adam Ford (@Adam4d) March 2, 2018
So Facebook looks stupid, Snopes looks stupid, and anyone who believed the article serious to begin with certainly is stupid. But there’s more to this when you consider the new excess scrutiny being put on conservative content outlets across the board.
As PJ Media noted:
While on the surface this may seem like nothing more than a silly misunderstanding or overreaction on the part of Snopes and Facebook, it’s important to view the warning in the context of conservative groups and individuals being removed from Facebook and other social media outlets at an alarming rate. Facebook claims that they’re in the process of hiring thousands of fact-checkers along with “professional” fact-checking organizations that oh, by the way, happen to lean left.